“Could you really rest for all of eternity, knowing that you had the chance to stop him but did nothing?”— Talion to Celebrimbor
A descendant of the Northmen in Rhovanion, and raised in Minas Tirith, he is a loyal Ranger of Gondor, where he then rose the rank of Captain of the Black Gate. After the tragic demise of his family and himself, Talion was revived by Celebrimbor, an immensely powerful Wraith; where the two joined forces and began a quest for vengeance on those responsible for the death of his loved ones, the Black Hand of Sauron.
Later, after he defeated the Nazgûl Isildur and after Celebrimbor abandoned him, Talion wore Isildur's Ring to survive. Resisting the corrupting effects of the Ring during decades to hold back Sauron's forces in Mordor and to give Gondor time to prepare for the War, Talion eventually became one of the nine Nazgûl. After the destruction of the One Ring by Frodo Baggins and the destruction of Sauron, Talion finally died a true death, through which his spirit was freed and he moved on to the afterlife.
Talion is a rather humble individual and as the captain of the Black Gate was respected by the men under his command. As a knight, he has a sense of honor upon the battlefield. After the death of his family and subsequently revived by Celebrimbor, Talion became stricken with grief and set out to kill those responsible for his wife and son's deaths.
Before Shadow of Mordor
Despite being lowborn, Talion gained the love of a noble lady named Ioreth, much to her father's ire. When he accidentally killed a noble of Gondor trying to assault his wife, he was branded a criminal, and his life belonged to Gondor. Ioreth pleaded with her father to prevent him from turning Talion in, but he refused. Only when Ioreth revealed she was pregnant with Talion's child and threatened to claim she had killed her attacker in self-defense did her father relent. In order to save Talion, though Hallas claimed to have done it for his daughter's sake, Ioreth's father explained he was offered a position guarding The Black Gate, and he decided to send Talion and Ioreth there.
Thanks to his father-in-law, Talion would assume a vacant post among the Rangers of Gondor stationed at the Black Gate, the gateway into the lands of Mordor. There, Talion lived at the outpost with his wife Ioreth, and his son, Dirhael. Talion and Ioreth raised their son at The Black Gate, and there Talion taught his son skills to let him become a soldier, though Ioreth disapproved of this, saying there were other things he could become like a flute player, suggestions which Talion laughed off. Talion had also celebrated events such as anniversaries of his marriage with his wife at the Black Gate as well, during one of which they discussed the possibility of leaving the gate, and Ioreth asked Talion if he had spoken with her father about this. Talion said that Ioreth's father refused, and he was still stubborn, causing Loreth to suggest they leave anyway as she was tired of hiding at the Gate.
Events of Shadow of Mordor
Defending the Black Gate
At some point, a vicious attack was launched by Uruk's from Mordor, which was later revealed to have been led by servants of the Dark Lord, Sauron. Outside in the middle of a storm Talion and his son Dirhael fought to hold back the Uruk forces, and during a break in the battle, Talion had Dirhael go find Loreth to protect her.
Later on, during the fight, Talion actually found Loreth in the Great Hall. Surprising his wife he quietly hushed her before she alerted their enemies to their presence. Slipping on ahead Talion intended to clear the path of Orcs so Loreth could follow safely behind. However, as he was disposing of the last enemy in the hall, he hears Loreth cry out from behind him, and upon turning around sees his wife being held by a tall and imposing foe, later revealed to be The Tower of Sauron, holding his wife at sword point.
The Tower orders the ranger to drop his sword, and he complies, before being ambushed by another enemy in heavy armor, The Hammer of Sauron, who proceeds beat him with the great mace he carries, almost to death before The Tower intervenes, reminding him that the Black Hand wants Talion alive. Talion tries reaching out to his wife's hand to comfort her but the Tower orders her to be carried of, whilst The Hammer resumes attacking Talion, crushing his left hand with his great mace before telling the Tower he would live before he strikes him in the head, knocking the ranger unconscious.
Sacrificed by Sauron's Servants
When Talion came too he was outside at the top of the Black Gate, unarmed, being held by the Hammer who proceeded to beat him to keep him subdued, before The Black Hand arrives. The Hand draws his sword and proceeds to cut the throats of both Dirhael and Ioreth whilst repeating an incantation of sorts (likely in Black Speech,) for his two victims, before he turns the sword on Talion himself, and repeating the process on the ranger. As Talion dies, the Hand looks up at the dark and stormy sky, ordering The Elf Lord to come back to him.
Return from the grave
Awakening in the Wraith World, Talion looks around and saw the bodies of his now dead son, and after picking his son's shattered sword and reliving some memories of both him and son sparring as well as the initial attack on The Black Gate, asks if he is dead, to which a mysterious wraith moving around in the shadows informs him that he was banished from death.
Talion then looks to the body of his wife, reliving another set of memories of the two, both their last anniversary, as well as later in the attack where Talion found her to be hiding in the now wrecked Great Hall, and later he and his family's sacrifice at the hands of Sauron's Servants. Acquiring his wife's scarf, which he is later shown to have tied around the sheath of his sword on his back, Talion asks about the nature of the place he was in. The Spectre simply tells him to see for himself, and Talion looked out on the landscape of Mordor. The wraith explained that a curse had bound them together, trapping them between life and death; when Talion asked if the curse could be broken, the wraith told them that they would have to find and kill the Black Hand of Sauron, the one who'd cast it upon them.
Battling the forces of Sauron
Leaving the Black Gate behind, Talion was ambushed by a warband of Orcs who'd been part of the assault on the fortress. Cutting down all but one, who he was briefly able to stun when he grabbed it with his scarred hand, he seized the miserable creature, allowing the Wraith to interrogate it. From the captive Orc, they learned that a former slave the Orc had owned claimed to have fought the Black Hand and survived. Tracking the slave to a work camp at the foot of the Black Gate and killing his new owner, Talion was surprised to learn the slave in question was Hirgon of Tarnost, a former comrade of his who had deserted the Black Gate some years earlier. Hirgon admitted his so-called 'duel' with the Black Hand had been more a case of him running for his life, but he agreed to share what information he had on Sauron's lieutenants in exchange for Talion's help in freeing his men from Orc captivity.
It was at this point Talion noticed a strange creature tracking him. Noting that it was clearly no Orc and that he could feel it had been touched by something of great power, the wraith urged Talion to find the creature and get some answers from it. Tracking the being to a nearby caragor cave, housing an artefact that gave some clues to the elven wraith as to his past, Talion caught the skulking creature near the cave, where both he and the wraith were surprised to learn the creature, calling itself Gollum, could see the wraith, who is referred to as the "Bright Master". Gollum offered his services to the Bright Master, promising to help him find more treasures that might bring further clues as to his past. Gollum's find allowed them to discover the wraith's true identity; Celebrimbor, the greatest Elven smith of the Second Age, who had been deceived by Sauron into forging the Rings of Power.
Confronting the Hammer
Eventually after removing 4 of the 5 Warchiefs in Gorgoroth from play, and assisting Ratbag the Coward's rise to the rank of Warchief to replace the fifth, Talion partnered with Hirgon and his Outcasts to destroy the monument the Orcs were constructing to honor Sauron with a huge stock of blasting powder.
Stealing a grog cart from the Orcs to act as a trigger for the blasting powder, the Outcasts reached the monument and as they and Hirgon battled with its Orc defenders, Talion pushed the cart, set ablaze by Orc archers, into the monument's foundations, the ensuing explosion leveling the structure. In the aftermath, Talion warned Hirgon that this attack would only draw the ire of Sauron's minions, but Hirgon insisted it had been necessary to give his people some hope the Dark Lord could be resisted.
When Talion next came to the Outcasts' camp, he found Hirgon and Eryn tending to a mortally injured slave who lived long enough to pass on a message that his attacker had wanted the Gravewalker. Talion asked if the one responsible was the Black Hand, but Hirgon answered it had been one of his lieutenants. Hirgon wished to gather his men and retaliate, but Talion convinced him to evacuate his people from Mordor, insisting that the servants of Sauron were beyond him and out for blood. Accepting that his people were in mortal danger, Hirgon bade Talion farewell before leaving to escape via a hidden tunnel that would take them past the Black Gate.
Talion then went to the ruins of the Gorthaur, where he watched the Hammer of Sauron assess the damage, before demanding of the Orcs assembled why the local Warchiefs had done nothing to prevent the destruction of the monument. The Orcs then threw Ratbag, the last surviving Warchief in Gorgoroth, forward to explain himself, who told that his fellow Warchiefs had been killed in battle. Dissatisfied with the explanation, the Hammer mockingly congratulated Ratbag on his survival, before dealing the miserable Orc a seemingly fatal blow and demanding the other Orcs present to bring him the head of the Gravewalker. At this, Talion made his presence known with a bold challenge... "Claim the head yourself!"
Whirling around at this challenge, the Hammer was amazed and delighted to discover the so-called Gravewalker was the Ranger he'd helped murder at the Black Gate, and taunted Talion, asking him where his courage had been when they'd killed his wife and son, before demanding the Orcs present kill Talion. However, the Orcs proved no match for Talion, forcing the Hammer to enter the fray, but although he put up more of a fight than his underlings, he was still defeated by Talion. Beaten, the Hammer taunted Talion, implying that the darkness he was fighting against had already begun to claim him, before Talion disarmed the Hammer, opened his throat with his sword and then killed him by driving Dirhael's blade through the Black Numenorean's heart.
In the aftermath of the battle, Celebrimbor chided Talion, remarking that they could have gotten useful information out of the Hammer, to which Talion angrily retorted that their dead enemy had helped murder his entire family, and asked what Celebrimbor would have done in similar circumstances.
Moving onto Nurnen
At this, a woman's voice interrupted them, asking if Talion spoke with the living or only with the dead. Talion turned to the speaker, who introduced herself as Lithariel, daughter of Queen Marwen, and invited them to accompany her to Nurnen, insisting that her mother wished to make an offering to Celebrimbor. Talion reluctantly agreed to accompany Lithariel home, where he was presented to Queen Marwen, who urged him to use his powers to dominate the Orcs of Mordor into an army that could be used to challenge Sauron's growing power. Eventually, Talion discovered that Marwen was under the thrall of Saruman, who was seeking to supplant Sauron and wanted Celbrimbor's aid in doing so; Talion and Lithariel were able to break the White Wizard's hold over Marwen, but Talion and Celebrimbor decided to adopt Saruman's plan for themselves.
After assisting Lithariel in helping her recover an elixir that would help her mother recover from Saruman's possession, she provided him with information about a gathering of Orc leaders at a nearby encampment she and her men intended to ambush. At this, Celebrimbor chided Talion for his growing attraction to the young warrior woman, reminding him of Ioreth and Dirhael's murders and the fact Talion was no longer part of the world of the living.
Unfortunately, the information Lithariel had obtained turned out to be false; in the ambush that followed, her men were slaughtered and she was taken prisoner by Orcs serving the Tower of Sauron himself. After she refused to surrender information about Talion, the Tower ordered his Orc servants to torture it out of her, then kill her and leave her corpse somewhere the Gravewalker was sure to find it. Talion was able to rescue her in time and carry her to safety, but chose to push away Lithariel's affection for him and offer that Marwen could help cure him, choosing to focus on his pursuit of Sauron's minions.
Toppling the Tower
After forging an army of Uruks by dominating the five warchiefs of Nurnen, Talion and Celebrimbor opted to sail out across the sea of Nurnen in order to confront the two remaining Black Captains, The Black Hand and the Tower of Sauron. With the assistance of Queen Marwen, Talion and Celebrimbor, Orcs in tow, set out across the sea on a smuggler's ship and arrived at Ered Glamroth, the domain of the Tower. After fighting their way through the fortress's Orc garrison, Talion and Celebrimbor made their way to the heart of the citadel, all the while mocked by the Tower. Upon reaching the citadel, they were confronted by the Tower, who demanded they bow to him, in exchange for which he would bring them to Sauron alive and unharmed. Celebrimbor threw the offer back in his face, but the Tower merely laughed at the elf's threats, telling Celebrimbor Sauron had forgiven his past sins, urging the elf to cast Talion aside and take the place being offered at the Dark Lord's side. When Talion demanded the Tower fight him, the Tower cruelly revealed that Celebrimbor had chosen Talion, rather than being forced upon him, and that his continuing existence was only to serve as the elf lord's host. However, although shocked by this revelation, Talion's desire for revenge surpassed his anger at this new knowledge, and he attacked the Tower.
In the duel that followed, the Tower used his sorcery to both conjure illusions of himself to confuse Talion and torment him with the voices of Ioreth and Dirhael, blaming him for failing to save them and asking why he hadn't died with them. After Talion managed to injure the Tower several times, the Black Numenorean retreated back into the citadel, conjuring an illusion of Ioreth to lure the Ranger into a final confrontation. When Talion reached out to the apparition of his wife, the Tower emerged, attacking him with black sorcery and swearing Talion would never see his family again. However, goaded on by this and his rage, pain, and hate, Talion overcame the Tower's magic and attacked him, bearing him to the ground and stabbing the Tower multiple times in the chest with Dirhael's broken blade, before driving his sword through the Tower's throat to kill him.
With the Tower dead, Talion turned to confront Celebrimbor, outraged that the elf had lied to him about their predicament. Celebrimbor tried to place blame on Sauron but Talion would not hear it, angrily blaming Celebrimbor for denying him the chance to be reunited with his family in death, to which Celebrimbor angrily responded that he thought Talion wanted to avenge them. After an awkward pause, Celebrimbor admitted he was willing to release Talion to join his family in death if he wished, but that it could only be done once the Black Hand was dead.
Showdown against the Black Hand
Sailing back to Nurn, Talion and Celebrimbor found the Black Hand had ransacked the region in their absence. Returning to Marwen's palace, only to find it looted and long-abandoned, they were greeted by Gollum, who provided another artifact of Celebrimbor's past, revealing he had assisted Sauron in perfecting the One Ring, only to then steal it from under the Dark Lord's very nose. Gollum then angrily attacked them, demanding to know where his "Precious" was, but Celebrimbor dismissed him.
At the same time, Mount Doom burst back into fiery life for the first time in generations, blanketing Mordor in ash and smoke. Making haste back to Gorgoroth, Talion, Celebrimbor and their army fought their way back to the Black Gate, guarded by the Talons of the Black Hand. After slaying the Talons, Talion and Celebrimbor climbed to the summit of the Black Gate, both confident that with the Black Hand dead, Sauron would be trapped in Mordor without the power of the Ringmaker or the One Ring to strengthen him, allowing both of them to die in peace.
At the top of the Black Gate, in the same spot where Talion had once sparred with his son, the Black Hand attacked them with sorcery, revealing to them Celebrimbor's doomed attempt to conquer Mordor for himself using the power of the One Ring; how the Ring had ultimately betrayed him and returned to its true master, and how Sauron had punished Celebrimbor for his audacity by making the elf lord watch the murders of his wife and daughter, before beating him to death with his own smithing hammer. Once the vision passed, the Black Hand snarled that Sauron had been willing to offer Celebrimbor a second chance to stand at his side, but if the elf would throw that offer back in the Dark Lord's face, then he would die. At this, the Black Hand opened his throat on the edge of his own sword, allowing Sauron to possess his corpse and take physical form. Sauron tore Celebrimbor from Talion's body, the Ranger desperately trying to avoid the Dark Lord's attacks as the fatal wound to the throat he had suffered in the sacrificial ritual weeks before began to bleed anew. As Sauron made to deal a killing blow, Celebrimbor was able to paralyze him, allowing Talion to strike fatal blows to Sauron's heart and skull, killing his host body and banishing the Dark Lord's spirit back to Barad-dûr.
With the Black Hand dead and Sauron beaten, Celebrimbor expressed his wish to pass on to Valinor, but Talion demurred. Sensing the Ranger's wish to continue fighting, Celebrimbor argued against it, pointing out that his own efforts to fight Sauron had cost him everything, but Talion asked if he truly could rest for all eternity, knowing he could have done more to fight Sauron, and yet refused to do so. Turning away from Celebrimbor and staring at the smoldering peak of Mount Doom, Talion declared his intention to create a new Ring of Power.
Shadow of War
Forging The New Ring
For an unspecified time, Talion worked with Celebrimbor at Mount Doom, using the same forge where Sauron had created the One Ring. When it was completed, however, Celebrimbor was snatched away by an unknown entity; with the elf wraith gone and the ring had fallen out of his reach, Talion began to succumb to his old injuries. As he lay on the ground beside the forge, he saw a vision in his mind of a happier memory between himself and Ioreth, but the pleasant reminiscence turned to horror when Ioreth's ghost reminded him that the past couldn't be changed and she was still dead. Reminded of what he had lost and the reason why he had chosen to continue opposing Sauron, Talion summoned the new ring to his hand by sheer strength of will; revitalized by it, Talion got back to his feet and declared that he would find Celebrimbor.
Losing The New Ring
Following the elf's voice in the back of his mind, Talion tracked Celebrimbor into the pass of Cirith Ungol, where he discovered the elf had been taken prisoner by Shelob. She demanded the new Ring in exchange for Celebrimbor's freedom, which Talion reluctantly handed over, Shelob freeing her prisoner to save Talion before his injuries killed him. Celebrimbor reprimanded Talion for his decision, warning that Shelob had been powerful and dangerous enough and the new Ring would only increase her power, but when Talion attacked her in a bid to reclaim the Ring, Shelob stopped him and urged him not to pick a fight with her, instead directing him to travel to Minas Ithil, currently under siege by Sauron's armies and reclaim the Palantir kept there before it fell into the Dark Lord's hands.
Defending Minas Ithil
Talion and Celebrimbor descended from Cirith Ungol to find the armies of Sauron attacking Minas Ithil; although the defenders were putting up a valiant effort, the sheer weight of numbers the Dark Lord's forces possessed would ultimately prove too much. While Celebrimbor advocated making haste and claiming the Palantir before it fell into the hands of Sauron's minions, Talion refused to abandon his fellow Gondorians to be slaughtered. Learning from an Orc worm the identity of an Orc captain commanding the search for the Palantir, Talion tracked and then killed the creature, while a new ally, a warrior woman, aided him against the Orc captain's entourage. In the aftermath of the battle, the woman introduced herself as Idril and urged Talion to join her in retreating back to the upper city, as the defenders were falling back, conceding the lower parts of Minas Ithil to the Orcs; joining Idril and helping to clear a path for Gondorian soldiers fighting their way back to the upper city, Talion delayed the Orcs for long enough to get as many men as possible to safety. In the aftermath of the battle, Talion was introduced to Castamir, Idril's father and commander of Minas Ithil's defenders. Surprised that one of the Black Gate's garrison had survived, Castamir refused to hand the Palantir over when Talion requested it be turned over to his safekeeping, but advised Talion that ensuring the defense of the city would keep the artifact protected. To that end, he sanctioned Talion to strike back at Orc forces rampant in the city, destroying siege engines and assassinating Orc captains to slow down the attackers.
After putting down a particularly aggressive attack on the city, aided by Idril and her father's second in command, Captain Baranor, Talion urged them to let him make use of the Palantir to find a way to try and stop Sauron's forces but was rebuffed; Idril had no notion where her father had sequestered it and Baranor believed the artefact too dangerous for anyone to use safely. Unable to learn more, Talion returned to Cirith Ungol, hoping to learn more from Shelob despite Celebrimbor's insistence that other than taking the New Ring back from her, dealing further with the spider was a waste of time. After being saved from an attack by an Olog-hai by Gollum, who Celebrimbor deduced was working for Shelob, Gollum escorted them to the spider's presence, where despite her and Celebrimbor making their distrust of each other plain, she agreed to aid Talion. Shelob directed them to strike down several Orc chieftains instrumental to the siege, which with the aid of Baranor and his fellow Gondorians, they were able to achieve. However, Shelob's last vision proved far more ominous, indicating that the Witch King had managed to suborn one of Minas Ithil's defenders into betraying the city. Talion's efforts to learn of the traitor in the ranks from the mind of the Orc warchief he had seen conversing with the Witch King in Shelob's vision proved in vain, as the Lord of the Nine telepathically killed the Orc with black sorcery before Talion could learn the traitor's identity, as well as threatening the Ranger that Sauron and the Nazgul were growing tired of his interference.
Returning to Minas Ithil, Talion found the city's defenders in chaos; Castamir had gone missing, and the Orcs were massing for another attack. At that point, an Orc messenger stood before the gates of the upper city, the Witch King using his sorcery to speak through the Orc. The Lord of the Nazgul proclaimed that his agents had taken Castamir hostage, and that they would kill him unless Talion came forth to fight his personal champion in the city arena. Aware that the Witch King had no intention of keeping his end of the bargain, Idril requested that Talion venture into the arena, suggesting that the Orcish love of bloody spectacle would keep them focused on Talion and oblivious to Idril and Baranor launching a rescue mission to free Castamir. Although Talion was able to best the Orc captains who chose to face him in the arena, the rescue mission ended in failure. Upon finding Idril preparing to return alone, fearing that if they waited until daybreak as Baranor wished to try again, the Orcs would have already killed her father, Talion volunteered himself to accompany Idril. On their way to the Orc camp where her father was being held captive, Idril related stories the Gondorians had heard from Orc prisoners they'd taken of the Gravewalker- a demon that was half man, half wraith. When Talion asked Idril what she thought of such stories, Idril honestly replied that Minas Ithil would be lucky to have the Gravewalker on their side.
After freeing a number of Gondorian prisoners in the camp and dealing with the Orc guards, Talion and Idril proceeded to the Warchief's tent, where they found Castamir seemingly in conversation with the Orc. However, the interruption of Idril allowed Castamir to kill the Warchief with its own blade. Although Idril was clearly relieved to see her father safe, Talion was more suspicious of the seeming lack of harm done to Castamir by his Orc captors. Upon their return to Minas Ithil, Talion again requested Castamir turn the Palantir over to his safe keeping, but Castamir dismissed his concerns in a strangely upbeat fashion, insisting the armies of Gondor would soon arrive to relieve the city. However, this comment aroused Idril's suspicions too, as she related to Talion they'd been sending requests for aid to Minas Tirith for weeks without reply. After receiving Talion's assurances he believed he could use the Palantir to turn the tide of the battle, Idril vowed to find for him where her father had stored the artefact.
The Fall of Minas Ithil
Suspicious of Castamir, Talion returned to Cirith Ungol, hoping to gain more information out of Shelob. The vision she showed him revealed the general was the traitor within Minas Ithil, his seeming abduction by the Witch King's agents meant to deflect suspicion from himself. Horrified at this new knowledge, Talion and Celebrimbor returned to Minas Ithil, hoping to obtain the Palantir before it was lost in the assault to come.
Returning to the city, Talion arrived to find the defenders preparing for their last stand; making his way to Baranor, who was questioning a fellow captain as to why Castamir had ordered his men to stay in reserve when they needed every soldier they could, Talion's question as to Castamir's whereabouts went unanswered as a blood-curdling shriek came from above. Recognising the sound and other sights from the vision Shelob had shown him, Talion pulled Baranor to safety as a ball of eldritch green fire descended from the sky, killing a large number of Gondorian soldiers and leaving the gates to the upper city in ruins. As Orcs began pouring through the breach, Talion and Baranor led the defense, watched from above by the Witch King himself, mounted on the back of a drake, but despite their best efforts, the enemy numbers were too great. Talion urged Baranor to retreat and save those he could, while the Ranger made for the Great Hall.
Inside, he found Idril confronting her father; it transpired that, believing Minas Ithil doomed, Castamir had agreed to hand over the Palantir and the city to the Dark Lord's agents in exchange for Idril's life being spared. Before Talion could move to stop the traitor general, several of the Ringwraiths descended into the chamber, keeping Idril and Talion at bay as the Witch King arrived, demanding Castamir hand over what he'd promised. Castamir fell to his knees before the Lord of the Nazgûl and held out the Palantir, reminding the Witch King of the pledge he'd been given assuring Idril's freedom. The Witch King merely sneered that Idril was free to die with the rest of Minas Ithil before lashing out with his mace and striking Castamir full in the face, killing him instantly.
As a horrified Idril grieved over her father's body, Talion watched helplessly as the Witch King departed with the Palantir. He kept Idril from trying in vain to avenge her father, urging her to join Baranor and the others in retreating, before fighting his way through the Ringwraiths left behind to protect their master's retreat to pursue the Witch King. Outside, Talion tried to attack the Witch King as the Lord of the Nazgûl looked out over the burning city, but the Witch King crippled Talion with sorcery, snarling a demand that Talion submit to his destiny. However, before the Witch King could complete his plan to corrupt Talion into a wraith under his thrall, an elven warrior woman attacked out of nowhere, severing the Witch King's arm and fending off the Ringwraiths with both blades and an elven artefact that emitted shields of light able to repulse the Nazgûl for a time. However, realising she was outmatched, the elven woman stabbed Talion through the heart before making her escape, denying him to the Witch King for the time being.
Alliance with Eltariel
Talion regained consciousness in the barrows beneath Cirith Ungol; the elf woman who'd cut him down was watching over him, sharpening his sword as she watched him come back to life. She questioned him as to how he was capable of doing so, while behind her back, Celebrimbor urged Talion to take the artefact she wore at her wrist, which he referred to as the Light of Galadriel, but the elf woman urged him to stand down, surprising both Talion and Celebrimbor that she could see him. Talion asked who the elf was; he identified herself as Eltariel, the Blade of Galadriel. Celebrimbor expressed incredulity that Galadriel would stoop to using assassins, to which Eltariel retorted that the nature of the times made for desperate measures.
Talion then asked after the fate of Minas Ithil and the Palantir; Eltariel bluntly replied both were now possessions of Sauron, before turning the conversation onto the matter of the New Ring. Talion told her of its creation, the fact it was now in Shelob's possession and that the Witch King and likely now Sauron knew of that fact. Celebrimbor demanded that Eltariel give them the Light of Galadriel to reclaim the Ring, but she refused, bluntly replying that while she would help them recover it, the Light would not leave her side.
Racing through Cirith Ungol, past all manner of creatures running in terror from the presence of the Nazgûl, the trio reached Shelob's cavern to find the Spider Queen under attack from eight of the Ringwraiths (having been ordered by Sauron to claim the new Ring and kill Shelob if she tried to stop them); Eltariel used the Light to drive the Ringwraiths back, while Talion attended to the injured Shelob. To his surprise, she returned the New Ring to him, insisting that sacrifices had to be made. She urged Talion to build a new army against Sauron, remarking his path would be made clear. In the aftermath of the battle, Eltariel urged both of them to destroy the new Ring, but Talion and Celebrimbor refused, stating it was their best chance of defeating Sauron and insisting it was free of the corrupting influence that had afflicted wearers of the other Rings of Power. Deeply unconvinced, Eltariel took her leave, urging Talion to do likewise before the Ringwraiths returned, but insisting they would meet again.
Rise to Power
Talion was drawn back to Nurnen by the voice of Carnán, an ancient forest spirit, where he would begin rebuilding his army with the aid of an Olog-Hai named Brûz. After building a sufficient fighting force Talion and Bruz confronted the Overlord of the nearby fortress, a two-headed Olog who was in reality Ratbag and his Olog associate 'Ranger' who had built the persona to assist them in keeping their grip on power.
The two agreed to step down as overlord only if Bruz did not replace them as they didn't want to work for him, apparently having a fair amount of unpleasant history with the troll. The decision not to promote Bruz would ultimately backfire wherein after the fortress was siege by Sauron's forces. In the aftermath of the attack, Bruz, embittered over being passed over as Overlord, betrayed Talion and backstabbed him, literally, taking control over the fortress in the process.
Bruz quickly launched an aggressive recruitment drive as the first to ever break free of Talion's control and towards this end captured Talion's former Overlord and two of his war chiefs and tied them up to posts to die. Ratbag assisted Talion in freeing his followers, and later sneaking back into the fortress through an emergency escape tunnel he had installed during his reign to confront the renegade Olog. Upon returning, Talion and Celebrimbor did battle with Bruz's army in the Fortresses' keep, and whilst they were able to best Bruz, he was able to escape.
Talion and Celebrimbor persisted in their efforts to bring down Bruz. The Olog made multiple attempts to eliminate his former master, including baiting him into an outpost in Cirith Ungol where he held some of Talion and Celebrimbor's poisoned followers, with some of the Olog's own followers waiting there to kill the Bright Lord, and even captured Ratbag's companion Ranger to draw them to Seregost and into a cave to attempt to blow them up with a dummy made to look like Ratbag's friend and barrels of grog. Despite these attempts, Bruz was unsuccessful in his attempts to kill Talion.
Eventually, Ratbag was able to trace his imprisoned companion "Ranger" to an outpost in Gorgoroth, with Bruz being none the wiser. Despite Celebrimbor's insistence that Ratbag's friend was expendable to their cause and not worth their effort, Talion freed the Olog, who despite having been imprisoned and starved for several days, was more than willing to stand up and rush into battle against Bruz for revenge.
With "Ranger" in tow, Talion and Celebrimbor immediately went to track down the traitorous Bruz, and after wearing him down and breaking him, Talion dominated him and promptly shamed him to the point his mind was broken and shattered, though they left the once fearsome Olog alive to demonstrate to all of Mordor what happens to those who dare defy the Bright Lord.
Eventually, Talion ventured into the Forest of Carnen to learn what it was that called to him and Celebrimbor from the depths of the magical woodlands. Following a trail of Orcs trapped in great tree roots and looking into their minds, Talion learned of Carnen and the power she had over her dominion, having the ability to control Caragors and so on. Eventually, they made their way to the center of the forest, and after interrogating him a great tree sprung up, seemingly from nowhere. Carnen eventually materialized in the form of a Caragor and stalked Talion in a circle whilst questioning the nature of him whilst Talion observed the creature with his sword drawn.
Celebrimbor told the ranger that they could not defeat her, and when asked by his companion what he suggested he do, Celebrimbor instructed him to throw down his sword and kneel. Talion defied this, claiming he would not kneel to this "thing" and engaged in battle with Carnen, who took various forms during the fight, such as a Caragor, Graug, and eventually even a Drake. Talion was eventually able to seemingly best Carnen, and as he turned to mock Celebrimbor for his belief that Carnen was much stronger than she appeared in their fight, was pulled by a root into a hole in the ground.
Moving around in the shadows, Carnen explained something had been unleashed to rise and rise again, and Talion enquired as to what it was he and Celebrimbor had unleashed. Carnen merely responded it was the "cry of the forest. The scream of the rivers." Celebrimbor briefly attempted to reason with her, but she promptly silenced him. Emerging from the shadows, Carnen ominously informed them that they had woken Tar Goroth who had been dormant until that point, attracting both it and the Dark Lord's attention. Talion again asked what had been awoken, with Carnen responding by informing them it was "undeath" before telling Celebrimbor his "forge sings." Celebrimbor said they heard her call and asked Carnen to allow them to help, to which she responded they would, calling Celebrimbor a deathless beast and Talion a flesh-haunted thing. Talion said they would seek Tar Goroth, and Carnen bade them go, telling the due that their Balrog waited, rising in Doom's shadow, and that they would fight to the death and rise again to continue fighting, and that "undeath would defeat undeath."
Arriving in Gorgoroth, Talion and Celebrimbor bore witness to an Orc called Zog the Eternal, a Necromancer, and his Acolyte's, calling Tar Goroth to surface from a pit of lava, as they attempted to bring the fiery former Maia under their control and have it join the "Shadow's Army." Approaching the pit from which Tar Goroth was rising from, Talion questioned what it was they had unearthed, with Celebrimbor informing him that they were summoning death itself, though it would be death for all. Battling Zog and his cult, Talion and Celebrimbor eventually forced the Necromancer to flee, though their quarry informed him that he had plans to wake all of Mordor's dead, including many of Talion's own victims, before he was done, and asking the ranger who he thought they would come for, and declaring they would meet again, before vanishing through use of a smoke bomb. Despite this, some of Zog's Acolytes continued the ritual in the lower reaches of the lava pit in a foolish attempt to raise the Balrog as their own. Realising the Balrog was rising, Celebrimbor informed Talion of this occurence, and Talion stated they would not give it the chance, and leapt into the pit. In the depths near the edge of a great pool of lava, Celebrimbor remarked that Zog and his Acolytes were fools and that "no one can tame a Balrog" as Zog's remaining cultists finished the ritual and raised the Balrog before it struck them all down with its fiery whip. Talion told Celebrimbor that this foe was beyond them as he slowly back away, though Celebrimbor countered this saying it was not so with the spirit of Carnen at their side, as the aforementioned spirit descended into the pit before morphing into the shape of an elemental Graug, and the Balrog turned its attention towards them. Engaging Carnen in battle, the Balrog proceeded to pummel the graug, however, Talion and Celebrimbor attempted to assist Carnen in gaining the upper hand by firing into its fissures in its back as well as other weak parts of its body. Eventually, the Balrog fled the pit, and Talion and Celebrimbor mounted the graug and climbed out the pit on its back. However, the Balrog ambushed them as they neared the top and cast Carnen back into the pit whilst Talion leaped from its back and managed to grab the cliff just before he fell back with Carnen, as the Balrog turned and fled. Carnen quickly resumed the chase in her elemental drake form, claiming there could be no rest either of them. Talion commented that she was truly a force to be reckoned with, and Celebrimbor told him that Carnen's spirit had witnesses Middle-Earths devastation and revival many times over, continuing on to tell him that she was there before any of them and would remain long after they had perished.
Fearing that the demon would venture beyond Mordor if not dealt with, Talion and Celebrimbor, assisted by the Spirit of Carnen, tracked the creature to the icy region of Seregost, and after being pursued through an icy cave where they dropped stalagtites onto its head to slow its pursuit, faced off against it on the icy lake, with Carnen's spirit taking the form of a Drake that breathed ice to counter the demon's fire. Eventually, they wore the fiery demon down and Carnen dove upon it and slammed it into the cracked ice whilst Talion leaped from the Drake as it and the Balrog sunk beneath the icy lake.
Meeting with Carnen in her forest, Talion commented she had sacrificed much. Drawing him closer Carnen told him of her history with Tar Goroth, explaining she had originally buried the Balrog in Doom's Shadow, and now he was drowned in ice. Despite her forest having been burned and her brood scattered, from decay would come bloom, and the circle was unbroken. Talion enquired about the Uruk at Gorgoroth known as Zog, and Carnen explained he was "death's midwife" and the raiser of Tar Goroth and Orcs, causing Celebrimbor to recognize Zog's nature as a necromancer. Smelling the air, Carnen said the Uruk was near, and that he stained the air with his magic, and he was cunning and crafty, and he and his followers were coming for them.
Celebrimbor promised to the Forest Spirit that they would find him and honor Carnen's sacrifice. Talion and Celebrimbor soon turned their attention to Zog and his Acolytes and strove to prevent his cult of Necromancers from raising more of Mordor's dead to forge an army of their own. Encountering the Necromancer again, Zog formally introduced himself and told Talion he was actually the inspiration for his grand plans, believing an army of the undead was perfect for defeating a dead man. Defeating Zog again, he informed him that there was no use fighting for the dead would claim Mordor eventually before he again fled.
Continuing their fight, with Carnen's Gruag, they put held back a rising tide of Ghul's that came up from the earth when Zog and his Acolytes brought back many of Mordor's fallen warriors as Revenants, as well as stopping them from resurrecting the Archers of Morgoth, an old order of great Archers from the First Age of Middle-Earth. Eventually, Zog's order brought the battle to Carnen herself, locating her great tree within the forest and dispatching torch-bearers to burn Carnen. Killing the torch-bearers, they again spoke with the forest spirit, who told them all was burned and choked by the fire. Celebrimbor told her the forest was clear and Zog's Acolytes would not return.
Despite this, however, despite having driven Tar Goroth back to the depths under the lake in Seregost, as well as having prevented the rising of many of Mordor's fallen Orcs, their troubles concerning Zog and his Acolytes remained. Carnen informed them that the Necromancer and his followers intended to raise Tar Goroth again. Realising the danger, Celebrimbor explained if Zog and his followers could raise the Balrog, this time it would be in his thrall and its power would be his, and that Zog must be stopped. Talion asked Carnen if she was coming with them, which she said she would not as the "long winter" called her name and that she must rest or all would become ash, despite Talion wondering how they could defeat Zog and his Acolytes, and that the circle could not be broken. Carnen instructed them to go before she disappeared.
Arriving in Seregost, Talion and Celebrimbor saw that Zog and his Acolytes had erected Totems of Necromancy in an attempt to again raise the Balrog from the depths. Talion did battle against the lead necromancer again, who was furious at his attempts to prevent Tar Goroth's rise, and angrily explained that the Balrog would rise again, but it would not be for Sauron, but for Zog's own army as he attempted to seize control of Mordor with a force of undead orcs that would chant his name. Eventually, Talion managed to bring Zog to his knees. Before striking him down, however, Zog told them a necromancer was never truly dead.
Eventually, Talion and Celebrimbor returned to Minas Morgul at the arena, where they bore witness to Zog's resurrection by his Acolytes. The necromancer called out to his brothers that he was reborn, and told them to look around at the many dead orcs who assisted in the claiming of the city, and that it was their army, rather than that of Sauron's or the Witch-king's. Calling to his brothers, Zog told them that the dominion of the aforementioned "slave-masters" was at an end for today they would rise.
Talion commented that Zog's followers had been busy, and Celebrimbor reminded him of Zog's own words about a necromancer never truly being dead. Purifying the Totems and engaging their foe in battle again, Zog reminded Talion that he would rise again when he died and Talion was a fool for trying to stop him and his work, calling him a simple man. He asked him if he understands the nature of the dead in Mordor, stating that they were not actually dead and simply waiting for an answer to their "call" and telling the ranger that once he (Talion) was out of the way, all Mordor's dead would rise again. However, Talion and Celebrimbor were able to over-power Zog and his legion of undead orcs and Acolytes, and after his defeat, Carnen's spirit appeared in the skies in her drake form. Calling out, she proclaimed that they would be cleansed by fire, burned to ash and cinder so they could never return. As she flew away, she reminded Talion that "undeath would defeat undeath."
Hunting the Nine
At Eltariel's behest, Talion and Celebrimbor returned to Minas Ithil, now fully corrupted by the Witch King's influence into the dread city of Minas Morgul. Eltariel explained that one of the Ringwraiths they'd encountered in Shelob's cave had retreated to Minas Morgul after being forced to flee Cirith Ungol, Talion expressing hope the Nazgûl might be vulnerable while it licked its wounds.
Making their way through the city, Talion branding Orcs to help them clear a path through the new defenders of Minas Morgul, when they reached the entrance to the upper city, now rendered impassable by the Witch King's sorcery, Talion and Eltariel were ambushed by the Ringwraith they'd come in pursuit of, who sorcerously killed the Orcs Talion had dominated, before engaging the pair in a vicious and swift duel.
Despite their enemy's ferocity, Talion was able to overcome and dominate the Ringwraith; looking into its mind, Talion discovered the creature had once been Suladân, a noble Numenorean King of Harad who had managed to force Sauron into surrendering to him when his army had laid siege to Barad-dûr, but who had tragically fallen under Sauron's influence when the Dark Lord tricked him into accepting a Ring of Power as a token of Sauron's submission. After Suladân's spirit fled from Minas Morgul, Eltariel again warned Talion that however noble or heroic the Kings of Men who'd become the Nazgûl had been, in the end they couldn't resist the corrupting influence of the Rings of Power even as they were twisted into monsters. Celebrimbor dismissed her concerns however, insisting that the Nine Rings of Power he had helped craft had been deliberately designed to subjugate their wearers to Sauron's will, and the New Ring was free of such corruption, though Eltariel was unconvinced.
Returning to Seregost from Minas Morgul after dealing with Suladân, Talion and Celebrimbor were alerted to the presence of another of the Nazgûl outside their fortress. Celebrimbor identified the wraith as Helm Hammerhand, musing on the tragedy of how the greatest king of Rohan had been corrupted into one of the Nine, as well as warning Talion that the fallen king's rage knew no bounds. Beyond the fortress gates, Helm angrily vowed that the fortress would not stand long against the dark forces Sauron would throw at it, stating "The Dark Lord will have his prize, ranger of Gondor.That fort is a tiny island in the middle of a sea of darkness, and the tide rises against you!" before using dark magic to summon the beasts of Seregost to assault the fortress.
As Khargukôr's Orc defenders battled with the rampaging ghuls, caragors, graugs and drakes attacking the fortress, Talion and Helm duelled within the fortress's courtyard. Celebrimbor's warning about Helm's strength and fury proved accurate when the Ringwraith resisted Talion's attempts to dominate him, before using his warhammer to beat the Ranger into submission. Before he could deal a killing blow, however, Eltariel intervened, injuring Helm with her blades enough to force the Ringwraith to retreat. After Talion had recovered himself, Eltariel insisted they needed to pursue Helm while his injuries still slowed him down.
Pursuing Helm into the mountains of Seregost, Talion questioned Eltariel as to whether she had faced Helm before; she replied that she had fought and defeated all of the Nine multiple times but had never succeeded in destroying them permenantly. When Talion asked her why she kept fighting in that case, Eltariel replied that sometimes in the war to defeat darkness, stalemate was a victory. As drakes flew overhead, the pair realised Helm was close by, Talion musing that now they had a fight that had to be won.
Tracking Helm to a frozen lake close by, the Ringwraith ambushed them, snarling that while the Witch King and Sauron wanted Talion alive, he would personally kill Eltariel for a trophy,stating "I will take her head and hands as hunting trophies!". Fighting off packs of ghuls and drakes attacking from above that Helm summoned to aid him, Talion was, after a lengthy and protracted battle, able to defeat and dominate Helm, gaining a glimpse into his past and his fall; fatally injured in an ambush orchestrated by Siric, the prince of Dunland, who was angered by Helm's refusal to let Siric wed his daughter, Talion saw Helm visited by Sauron on his deathbed at Edoras, the Dark Lord gifted him a Ring of Power, promising Helm it would ensure his "daughter's safe return" (the young woman having seemingly been kidnapped by Siric); healed by the ring's power, Helm laid siege to his enemy's fortress, intending to get his daughter back from the warlord who had taken her. However, when Helm tried to attack Siric, his own daughter Bernwyn tried to intervene, only to end up putting herself in the way of her father's warhammer, causing him to accidentally kill her. Helm's horror and guilt turned to fury and he promptly turned his rage on everyone in the chamber, killing Siric, his Dunlending bodyguards and even his fellow Rohirrim when they tried to halt their king's fury.
In the aftermath of Helm's defeat however, Talion rounded on Celebrimbor, outraged by one thing he'd seen in the vision most of all; the elf lord standing side by side with Sauron as the Dark Lord presented Helm with the Ring of Power that had consumed him. Talion furiously accused Celebrimbor of being just as guilty as Sauron of destroying the Kings of Men who had become the Nazgûl; Celebrimbor dismissed Talion's rage, insisting he had crafted the Nine Rings to help restore order to the kingdoms of Men and that Sauron had corrupted them into tools of domination without his knowledge. Unsatisfied, Talion expressed his incredulity that Celebrimbor would craft another Ring of Power, having seen firsthand the damage such artefacts left in their wake; Celebrimbor however mockingly laughed off Talion's outrage, pointing out that Talion had played a part in the creation of the New Ring as well, adding that dominating Orcs with it to create their own army was hardly akin to corrupting rulers of Men, and reminding Talion that the army they would build with the new Ring was the key to achieving their shared vengeance on Sauron for all he had taken from them. Talion, however, merely expressed his disgust that Celebrimbor had shown all he cared for was his revenge against Sauron, no matter the cost.
Journeying on to Gorgoroth, Talion and Celebrimbor rendezvoused with Eltariel near several ruins where she claimed to have witnessed activity involving the Nazgûl. As they investigated the ruins, the Ringwraith they'd been tracking revealed itself; Isildur, the once heroic King of Gondor who had defeated Sauron and cut the One Ring from the Dark Lord's hand, only to be consumed by its corrupting power. The trio then watched in astonished horror as Isildur used necromancy to raise wights of the soldiers who'd died fighting in Minas Ithil. Talion was stunned by this, but Eltariel urged him to fight, insisting that the wights were no longer men and could only be put out of their misery.
After dealing with all the wights left prowling the ruins, Talion and Eltariel moved to confront Isildur himself; after a brief battle, Eltariel conjured another protective shield with the Light of Galadriel, cutting Isildur off from attacking them. Beaten, Isildur retreated, but not before mockingly insisting that like him and his minions, they would never escape Sauron's grasp, even in death. As he departed, Isildur left behind another band of wights to battle them, and to Talion's horror, amongst the ranks of the dead men was Castamir, raised with only fragmented memories of his past life, his daughter and his actions at Minas Ithil. After defeating and banishing Castamir and his fellow wights back into death, Eltariel insisted that they needed to find and deal with Isildur before his necromancy could swell the ranks of Sauron's armies beyond count.
Eventually, after building up enough power and ensuring the Nazgul could not track them using the Haedir, Talion in conjunction with Eltariel and Celebrimbor gathered their army on the bridge to Barad-Dur, in preparation of launching their final assault to eliminate Sauron for good.
Standing on one of the bridge arches, they observed Sauron's own army march forth to defend the Dark Tower as Sauron called out to the ranger, telling him this was his fate. Talion and Celebrimbor then proceeded to give a great speech to their Orc army about claiming Mordor for their own before they leaped into the fight against Sauron's army. Slowly but surely, the Bright Lord's forces began to gain ground.
Eventually, as Talion and Celebrimbor's army continued to fight its way forward, driving Sauron's troops back, Isildur descended into the fray, informing Talion his time had come, and all that he had wrought had led them here, and they were bound together in their brotherhood, with his fate being what awaited kings and men. Talion rebuffed this, retorting he would not fall as Isildur had, and after duelling with the fallen king, Celebrimbor dominated him and bore witness to Isildur's life from the moment he cut the ring from Sauron's hand, up to the point where he died and was then revived by The Dark Lord using a ring of power.
Celebrimbor dominated the Nazgul and declared Isildur to be his slave, but Talion refused to allow this, and so proceeded to free Isildur by stabbing him through the neck with his sword, ending his life for good and letting him find some peace in death. Celebrimbor angrily berated the ranger for this, declaring that Isildur was not his to release, whilst Talion said he was not Celebrimbor's to enslave. Eltariel pointed out how Celebrimbor had broken the hold of Sauron and dominated him before Celebrimbor declared his plan to dominate Sauron and take his armies for himself.
Talion disagreed with this, believing they were meant to destroy Sauron, causing Celebrimbor to angrily yell about the impossibility of such a task, which Eltariel agreed with. Talion refused to trade "one dark lord for another" and yelled that this was not what he had spent his time fighting for before Eltariel reminded him that he wasn't alone in his fight. Celebrimbor informed him that none of this was about the two's separate "petty" vengeance against Sauron, but about bringing order to Mordor, and all Middle Earth.
Celebrimbor turned on Talion, reminding him he was merely a vessel and turned to face Eltariel and stating there were others. He remarked upon Eltariel's presence being in Mordor for a reason and offered her his Ring of Power, convincing the elven assassin that together they could bring Sauron to his knees and finish what their people started centuries ago. After a moment of hesitation, Eltariel accepted Celebrimbor's ring, causing the wraith to be bound to her instead of Talion, causing the ranger's old wounds from his sacrifice at the hands of Sauron's Black Captains to re-open and him to fall to the floor.
Eltariel briefly attempted to offer the ranger some comfort, informing him that their sacrifices were not in vain before stating this to be the only way, before she continued on the bridge to Barad-dûr. Celebrimbor merely looked down on the dying ranger, before moving on without a word, leaving the ranger to die on the bridge.
Descent Into Darkness
Having been abandoned by Celebrimbor and Eltariel and left to die, Talion lay bleeding out on the bridge before being swarmed by Shelob's brood and visited by the aforementioned spider in a vision. He mockingly told her to look around and see the future she had wrought, causing her to remark at how pitiful he was and point out how despite the sight she gave him, he still did not see.
Talion pointed out that she had shown him an unchangeable fate, which she told the fallen ranger was wrong. She stated that upon the forging of The New Ring, she saw their path and where it ended. She said she saw Talion and Celebrimbor as the Bright Lord, locked against Sauron in battle at the top of his Dark Tower, where they came out victorious, enslaving the Dark Lord and ordering their combined forces to march out beneath the Bright Lord's banner and causing Middle Earth to fall under their heel.
Shelob continued on, explaining that this is the future she fought against and was now averted due to Talion realizing Celebrimbor was no better than Sauron. Talion, shocked at this revelation, initially didn't accept it, before Shelob proceeded to inform him that his war was not over, telling him that regardless of who ruled Barad-dûr, the power balance of Middle Earth needed to be maintained or all would fall as a result.
Realising what needed to be done, Talion simply stated "Minas Morgul" and Shelob informed that from there, Mordor could be held back. Talion asked how this would be possible without The New Ring, to which the spider responded by reminding him of when she asked him how much he was willing to sacrifice, before instructing him to open his eyes. Doing so, Talion realized that Isildur's Ring lay on the bridge, having fallen from Isildur's hand when Celebrimbor dominated him, glowing at him. Seizing it, Talion declared that as long as he had breath in his body, his fate was his own, before donning the ring.
Holding back Mordor
Sustained by Isildur's Ring, Talion walked alone to Minas Morgul. Crossing the bridge and approaching the entrance to the city, Talion was called out at by some Orcs guarding the bridge, who mocked what they perceived as Talion's stupidity for approaching a city full of orcs alone, declaring "You must have rocks in your head!This is Minas Morgul,and you are one man!"
Talion remarked that he may be one, but with others became many, as he summoned an army of ghostly Gondorians to assist him in laying siege to the city. Battling through the city with his small army of Wight's and Revenant's, Talion bested the four Nazgûl who were assisting in keeping a hold on the city with the defending Orcs who helped hold the city for the Witch-King. Making his way to the upper city, Talion passed safely through the veil the Witch-King had set up to prevent mortal men from reaching the Great Hall, and ventured inside.
Approaching the Palantir, Talion heard the shrieks of the Nazgûl as they descended, before the Witch-King himself stepped forth. Approaching the Lord of the Nazgûl who was flanked by his fellow Ringwraiths, the Witch-King called the dark ranger their brother and told him to join them. Talion refused, stating he was not in darkness yet, and not their brother, causing the Witch-King to dismiss his fellow Ringwraiths before entering into a duel with Talion.
Eventually, Talion bested the Witch-King, and made attempts to see inside him as he had done with the other Nazgûl he had beaten before him. The Witch-King mocked him for this, stating that he would never be able to see inside him as his soul was completely diminished, with nothing of it remaining. Talion coldly told him that he would then instead banish him, and declared Minas Morgul his as the Witch-King and his fellow Ringwraiths fled.
Alone in the hall, Talion approached the now unguarded Palantir and used it to bear witness to the events going on at Barad-dûr. He witnessed Celebrimbor and Eltariel's battle against Sauron and their subsequent events to dominate him, before seeing the Dark Lord cut off two of Eltariel's fingers, including the one on which she wore the Ring. Separated from his host, Celebrimbor merged with Sauron, ultimately costing the Dark Lord his physical form and leading to the creation of the flaming eye above Barad-dûr.
Talion, using his army, proceeded to spend the next several decades holding back Mordor, keeping the region of Middle Earth locked in a constant state of war, preventing the Orcs from spreading beyond its borders and giving the Free Peoples of Middle Earth time to prepare for the War of the Ring, all the while trying to also keep the darkness of Isildur's Ring from corrupting him as well.
Eventually, holding back the forces of darkness for decade's took its toll of Talion. After defeating the two rogue Nazgûl sisters, Talion finally started to succumb to the ring's influence and pleaded with Eltariel that she take him to Gondor before taking his ring, as he did not want to die in Mordor. Eltariel, feeling guilty in causing Talion's situation in the first place, accepted his final wish, and the two flew to Minas Morgul. Despite his plan to give up the ring to Eltariel and finally join his family, Talion had gone too far and could no longer remove the ring by his own will; instead of wondering why he should give such a small and beautiful thing away. As Eltariel pleaded him to not betray the man Talion was, he pointed out that Eltariel was in no position to talk to him about betrayal, blaming her and Celebrimbor's actions for what he had become. The two argued until it was too late; Talion told Eltariel that the ring was his and that Talion was no more. During their ensuing battle, Talion raised dozens of orcs and was assisted by some of the other Nazgûl, but eventually lost the fight, and was "killed" by Eltariel, sending him to regenerate in Barad-dür. Sometime later, whilst overlooking Middle Earth alone from Minas Morgul, Talion was visited by the Witch-King, who informed him his quest was over, as was his life, and that together they could turn their vision towards Middle Earth.
Surrendering to the ring, Talion finally gave in, and joined the Nazgûl as the newest member of the nine, taking the place of Isildur amongst their ranks, and returning control of Minas Morgul to the Witch-King. For the next few years, Talion would go with his brothers to the shire in pursuit of Frodo Baggins and The Fellowship of the Ring in attempts (that would ultimately fail) to reclaim The One Ring for his Dark Lord Sauron.
Final Death and release
After the One Ring was cast into the fires of Mt. Doom unwittingly by the creature Gollum, Talion whilst riding a fell beast attempted to steer clear of the fires and molten rock erupting from Mt. Doom, before being struck down alongside his mount.
Walking out of the darkness, and with his appearance returned to how he looked in life as a ranger of Gondor, Talion walked towards the sunrise whilst casting off his armor and cloak and discarding his weapons, as he finally found freedom and peace in death.
Skills and Abilities
As a Ranger, Talion exhibits great strength, speed, and resilience. His past experience has provided him with a reasonable degree of stealth capability. This allows him to utilize small walls, corners, and the foliage of thick bushes to silently and swiftly eliminate his enemies without being detected.
He is a skilled swordsman after many years of training, and he has honed his skill in the use of swords and daggers. He is able to wield his weapons with great dexterity and is capable of performing various finishers, including stealth and aerial take-downs. He possesses great skill in open combat and can easily engage multiple opponents in battle with incredible force and brutality.He has proven to be a skilled freerunner, able to sprint and vault across the remnants of Mordor with great agility and maneuverability. This ability allow him to quickly scale large buildings and cross beams.
After being revived by the legendary Celebrimbor, Talion is granted supernatural powers which augment his abilities, greatly increasing his strength, speed, stealth, and freerunning abilities.
Aside from his physical armaments, Celebrimbor grants Talion a host of additional powers which he can use to his advantage. While in the wraith world, Talion is capable of using shadow strike, an attack which allows him to teleport to his enemies' location, opening opportunities for a surprise attack or to navigate over difficult terrain. Talion is also capable of binding his enemies' feet to the earth with arrows and slowing down time in combat with focus. The most important of Talion's abilities is his power to dominate Uruks, allowing him to make them his minions. These enemies will then perform tasks such as gathering intel, spreading dissent, or attempting to assassinate their peers, underlings, or commanders.
Upon placing Isildur's ring on his finger, he gained the ring's ability to raise and summon the dead to aid him in battle. Although first limited to common grunts, with proper upgrades this power could be used to raise Olog-hai, beasts, and even allied Captains. While he is capable of summoning undead Men, they only appear during certain situations such as his "Ringwraith" ability; indicating that Talion is more hesitant to call them for aid, presumably because they are fellow humans and to let them rest.
- Talion's name has its roots in the Latin language, from the term lex talionis or the law of talion, also known as "an eye for an eye".
- Acharn (Talion's dagger) is actually his son's shattered sword, which he carries with him on his journey.
- During the Banished From Death trailer, Acharn can be seen as being broken about a foot along the blade, in a jagged fashion. This is very similar to Narsil, the blade that belonged to Elendil, and the one used by his son Isildur to defeat Sauron.
- Talion has been called many different colorful names by the Uruks. Among others, he has been called "Gravewalker", "Tark", "Man Swine", "Man Filth", "Pink Skin", "Meat", "Blood", and "Crazy-Maker".
- Talion seemed to have an infatuation of sorts with Idril in Shadow of War, enough so that even Celebrimbor picked up on and urged him to ignore, as he believed it clouded Talion's judgment.
- Similarly, in Shadow of Mordor Celebrimbor sensed that Talion was developing feelings towards Lithariel, and immediately rebuked him sighting that Talion was no longer of her world.
Talion • Celebrimbor